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Motivating Self-Storage Managers in Tough Economic Times

Matthew Van Horn Comments
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Each manager should be given a list of goals and an operating budget, which should be reviewed regularly. Work with your managers as a team and discuss the goals of the facility. Allow them collaborate with you on next year’s budget. Here are some questions you should consider when outlining goals:

  • How much occupancy or NOI increase do you expect in 2010? 
  • What’s your goal for inventory sales?
  • What kind of closing percentage for customer leads are you expecting?
  • What percentage do you expect to decrease expenses?
  • Is your payroll going to increase or decrease?
  • How much will your marketing budget increase or decrease?

Allowing managers to participate in goals will give them a sense of responsibility toward attaining them. This works especially well if your bonus structure is tied to these goals on which you have both agreed. 

Praise and Reward

The depressed economy not only affects our facilities in terms of income, delinquencies, NOI and other metrics, but also manager performance. Facility managers are very much like bartenders in that they hear customers’ problems, from domestic disputes to foreclosures and layoffs. Mix these issues along with under performing properties, and it can psychologically overwhelm a person quickly.

As an owner or operations manager, your job is to keep morale and motivation high. Even with tight budgets, you should be taking care of managers who do a great job and treat them well. During one of your visits, take your manager to lunch and point out the areas in which he has excelled. Or cover the facility one day and give him a paid day off. Present your manager with a gift card to a local restaurant or store.

Different types of motivation work for different people. Small acknowledgements, monetary or not, will go a long way in keeping your managers spirits high during these difficult times. 

Facing the Challenges Ahead

As we move into 2010, motivating managers will continue to be a challenge. If you’re hiring a new manager this year, look for one who is intrinsically motivated will get things done. Work with managers on realistic goals for the coming year, and allow them to be a part of the budgeting process.  Lastly, provide the moral support and leadership skills needed to keep your manager’s upbeat, their spirits high and on track for a strong finish this year.
Motivate your managers correctly, and you might be surprised with the long-term success of your facility. 

Matthew Van Horn is the vice president of Cutting Edge Self-Storage Management, a full-service management company specializing in self-storage management, feasibility studies, consulting and joint ventures. For more information, call 866.970.EDGE; visit Follow the company on Twitter at Cuttingedgemgt.

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